Scientists believe the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in China has been declining for several days.

The daily number of people who have recovered or died from Covid-19  is now higher than the total number of new infections, according to researchers from the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.

Statistical modelling of data from 13-15 February suggests this trend has been present in China — where the virus first broke out in December 2019 — since 12 February.

Dr Yi Zou of the Department of Health and Environmental Sciences at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is one of four researchers who has published figures derived from the model. 

He said: “This pattern of decline would be hopeful, since each day there are fewer people who infect others, and the burden of taking care of sick people should decline.

“However, if factors that affect the trend change or if the data on current cases is under-reported, the model’s indications will not be accurate.”


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As of 17 February, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases across the world stands at more than 71,000, while the death toll is currently 1,775.

While the vast majority of cases and deaths have occurred in China, the virus is also thought to have infected people in 27 countries — including several Asian countries, parts of Europe, Africa, and the US.

On 29 January, the number of worldwide cases overtook the number of people infected during the deadly SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2002-03.

coronavirus cases
Covid-19 is from the same viral family as SARS — an outbreak that killed 774 people in 2002-03 (Credit: NIAID/Flickr)

On 8 February, the Covid-19 death toll also rose above the 774 killed by SARS.

Despite the number of new deaths increasing by about 100 each day, a total of more than 11,000 people are now thought to have recovered from the virus.

Due to increased awareness of the public health epidemic, and improved treatment methods, this number is now thought to be increasing by more than 1,000 each day.